Exhibitions: American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection

Madame Alix Gres: Evening Dress

Austine Hearst was a Grès client for more than thirty years (and donated nearly forty Grès garments spanning that time period). Hearst had a personal style that could carry off the boldest of innovative couture designs. While Madame Grès is best known for stately pleated Grecian gowns, one of her other design interests was creating sculptural shapes in crisp taffeta. In an audacious juxtaposition of linearity and volume, she displaced her signature pleating and gathering techniques from the body of this dress to the sleeves, pushing the boundaries of technical skill and practicality.